Interview With Marianne Williamson | Tears To Triumph
“The key in life is to seek your best you can be with you.” – Marianne Williamson
A while ago, a strong desire to uplift my life brought a book into my hands, Return to Love. This book has forever changed my perception of what a Miracle is. That was my first encounter with spiritual teacher, lecturer and renowned bestselling author Marianne Williamson. Ever since, her words have continued to reverberate in my head: “A Miracle is a shift of perception from fear to love.” Her outstanding talent to touch people in a deeper level for the past 30 years has changed many lives. She constantly reminds us, through her spiritual perspective, the essence of who we really are. Now, a few years later, I have had the honor to interview Marianne and talk about her latest book, Tears To Triumph: The Spiritual Journey From Suffering To Enlightenment.
- What inspired you to write your latest book Tears to Triumph?
The only chance we have of reaching other people at a deep level, is if we are speaking from a deep level within ourselves. So, I have always chosen to write about whatever was deeply true and deeply meaningful for me at that time. The subject of going through depressing cons is a topic that I think it’s relevant for all of us, because there is a normal spectrum of human suffering. But these days we have fallen for a new story, a story that I think is very dysfunctional, and that is the medicalization of normal human despair. The truth is that there is a normal spectrum of human despair: we go through a bitter divorce, breakup, we have a professional failure or a financial crisis, or someone we know and we have loved have died, these things simply happen in life. If you don’t know how to navigate the turbulent waters of life, you end up not knowing how to navigate life as an adult. So, the idea that has become so popular in the last few years of rushing to take an anti depressive, rushing to take pharmaceutical drugs every time we go through a rough patch… it is a very dysfunctional reaction to human despair. Humanity would not have survived over thousands and thousands of years without being imbued with the capacity to take a hit. The physical body has an immune system and the psyche has an immune system as well, that’s what grief is. So, we need to go back to honoring grief, honoring our sad times, and when we do, we will realize there is a lot to learn there. My saddest times have taught me my fittest lessons. Sometimes you realize ways in which you would best change, so that next time you are out there you’ll be different, you will think differently, you’ll behave differently, or the lesson could be not to take life as a joke, because it’s not. The lesson might be that other people’s feelings really matter. The lesson might be that you have something that you yourself have to honor, take responsibility for grief. The lesson might be how much you have to forgive someone else, or the visceral understanding that this life is not going to last forever so suck the juice out of it and don’t take people and things for granted. So, I know that in my own life my painful moments have been ultimately some of my biggest teachers, and this is not the time, on this planet, for any of us not to be learning our lessons. The planet itself, the civilization in which we live, is going through a very critical time, set with challenges, and if we don’t learn how to handle deep challenges in our own lives, without nabbing or distracting ourselves, how are we going to be the people we need to be in order to face the challenges of the world?
- On page 48 you quote the following words of Gandhi : “The problem with the world today is that humanity is not in its right mind.” Do you think depression is a medical condition or a state of mind? What is, in your opinion, the antidote for that?
We were created to use our mind as a vessel for Love. And when we are using our mind with any other purpose, we are not using it for the intended purpose, and that causes unhappiness. I can’t be happy in my skin, I can’t feel comfortable in my life if I am not being and doing what in my heart I know I was born to be and do. And that is where the pain and the suffering of human life is coming from. It comes from the fact, as Gandhi said, that we are not in our right minds. There is a consciousness that dominates the planet, which is love lessens rather than Love, and the absence of love is fear, just like the absence of light is dark. So we live our lives with a sense that we don’t know who we are. We are not aware of our deeper relationship to a higher power, or to the Universe, or to each other, or to Earth. We have no sense of why we are here, of what we are doing, so of course we are unhappy, but you can’t just fight the symptoms of unhappiness, you have to cultivate happiness. And the only way of cultivating happiness is to cultivate our capacity to love. If I see myself as a victim I cannot be happy, if I withhold forgiveness I cannot be happy, if I fail to atone for my own mistakes I cannot be happy. So, the book is kind of a happiness guide, about how to cultivate the kind of thought that leads to a loving behavior, which is the only source of our happiness.
- I felt a deep connection with the following paragraph in your book, on page 9: “Miracles are thoughts, and thoughts produce everything. Thought is a level of cause; the world as we know it is a level of effect. A miracle is a shift of perception from fear to love, changing an effect in our lives by changing the thinking that caused it.” How can one apply this process and become a Miracle Worker?
Every spiritual path is a guide to that process. Meditation, prayer, forgiveness, being more compassionate, being atoning for our own errors, being more compassionate and merciful towards others who have made mistakes… these are the only ways to find happiness in our lives.
- Forgiveness, prayer and meditation. What’s the power behind those practices? Could you describe it?
When I forgive, I let go of my attacking mind. If I am not forgiving you, I am focusing on your guilt. The way the mind operates, whatever I am thinking about you I am doing to myself, because there is only one mind. So if I am focusing on your guilt, I will feel guiltier myself; if I am attacking you, I am attacking myself. By letting you of the hook, I let myself of the hook. If I focus on what I perceive to be the reality of what you “did to me”, then to that extent I will place myself at effect of what you did to me. But if I chose not to limit my focus to what I perceive to be your mistake or transgression, then I am lifted above the emotional, psychological or even material level of that which I am as the effect of what you did. And even if you did something that affected me materially, the Universe is automatically programmed to compensate for whatever loss or diminishment I might have experienced as long as I stay open in Love, because where there is Love, Miracles occur naturally.
- In all your books, at least the ones that I have read, you often refer to A Course In Miracles. How did A Course In Miracles made its way to your hands, and what impact has it had in your life?
When I started to read A Course in Miracles I was in my twenties. A Course in Miracles is just one statement of Universal Truth, as there is only one Truth with a capital T, only it is spoken in many different ways. I speak in this book about the light of Buddha and the light of Moses and the light of Jesus. There are Universal Spiritual themes in all of the great systems of Spiritual Thought. A Course in Miracles is not about nor a religion, but a psychological training on relinquishing a fear-based thought system and accepting a Love-based thought system instead. Once you realize that thought is the level of cause, and that you experience the world on a level of effect, then you realize that changing your thinking is everything and that a serious religion practice is really a healing of the mind.
- You use the word God and then you mention various religions such as Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism. Who is God to you and what’s the connection between all religions?
You talk about God as you understand him, and that works for me. I am Jewish, the traditional notion of God I was raised with have never been a problem for me, but I know, particularly as a student of A Course in Miracles that what we call God, or what we believe about God is not what matters. What matters is our experience, and the experience that matters is to be the people that we are meant to be, people of love. People that stand their ground, where love is the bottom line. There are people that say they love God and they hate, there are people that kill in the name of God, that’s not God. From an enlightened perspective, you can’t blame God for the crazy insane things done in His name. God, whether you call it God or not, means a higher power, and that is the power of Love. When we stand within the light of that consciousness, that the truth of Who We Are is Love, and the purpose of our lives is to love, then we become comfortable in our skin, we recognize a deeper transcendent relationship to everyone and everything. When we are thinking outside the circle of that light, we are cast into the mental regions, despair, chaos and randomness in which there is no joy.
- Do you believe in death?
The physical body obviously dies, but spiritually we don’t die. Like in A Course in Miracles and all religious systems, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, they all talk about death in that spiritually we do not die, because what God has created cannot be uncreated. I think the body, as A Course in Miracles says, the body is like a suit of clothes, the physical birth is not a beginning but a continuation, and physical end is not an end, but a continuation.
- You have run for Congress. If you had to highlight one lesson that you have learned in the process, which would be?
The most important lesson I have learned is that it’s not enough to know about the issues. Don’t run for office unless you know how to run a political campaign. Do yourself a favor.
- What’s the ultimate success for you?
Being happy. Going to bed at night and feeling comfortable in my skin, in that I was a decent person today, that something I did may have helped someone, that my daughter and I have a good relationship and also with all other people closest to me. That to the best of my abilities I am being the person that Love has me be.
- How do you balance your professional and personal lives?
There is a level at which I don’t see a distinction. The key in life is to seek the best we can be in whatever situation. Right now I am doing this interview with you and I’m called by life to rise to the occasion, to do the best that I know how to do. But if I’m talking to a personal friend after this, I’m asked to do the same thing. No matter where we are or what we’re doing, we’re called to be present, to be real, to be loving. In terms of balancing on an external level, since I do have a lot of work to do and I am out in public a lot, when I am home I really like to be home. I need a lot of solitude and private time to balance being so out there in the world. The world today is so hectic, we need to cultivate the silence that brings things back into harmony. There are many lifestyle decisions involved in living a more heart centered life, and in today’s world, where there is so much going on all the time for most of us, prayer, meditation and the practice of a quiet mind are so very important.
- What’s the way to our Enlightenment and what’s the best we can give to our World?
Love! Enlightenment is a shift from self-identification with the material, to self-identification with the spiritual. If I think life is only about me, my body, my things, my success, my circumstances, then that very mentality sucks the life force out of me. But if instead I focus on what it means to love, to forgive, and to practice infinite compassion to the best of my ability, then I rise above all that. I rise above my attachments and I rise above the stress that the attachments produce. Then I begin not only to be more peaceful inside of myself but also more effective in the world. The world is constantly telling us things that repudiate the love inside us. The consciousness that dominates this planet today is very debilitating, producing horrible stress and anxiety for so many. I wrote Tears to Triumph in order to help us remember that there is a much deeper meaning to our lives. And when we remember that deeper meaning, and learn to express it, in our relationships, in every area of our lives, then our lives begin to miraculously transform. And as our individual lives miraculously transform, we start showing up as the people we need to be in order to help transform the world.
Do you believe humans can experience Heaven on Earth?
Absolutely!!! From a metaphysical perspective, heaven is the awareness of our oneness. We all have moments when we feel that oneness, though obviously not often enough. And we all have a deep subconscious memory of something we sometimes call Paradise – our spiritual source point and the place to which we long to return. A Course in Miracles says that memory is like an ancient melody that never goes away, beckoning us to come home. A world where love prevails is heaven on earth, because it’s one in which we live in the material world, and we are spiritually at home, at the same time. That’s why human beings despair, we feel the gap between how life on Earth is today, and how we know deep in our hearts that it could be. The gap is so heartbreaking. But the point is not to numb our heartbreak; the point is to do the things we are meant to do to close the gap between the two worlds.
May we pray together:
We are joined in asking for a Blessing upon our precious World.
We place in your hands the stresses, the struggles, the challenges,
Particularly the hatred that has become so predominant.
May there be a great Awakening
May a great wave of Forgiveness come upon us
May Love fill every heart
And may humanity Arise
May a new Consciousness emerge
A Love that will cast out all fear
A Light that will cast out all darkness
And a Peace that will cast out all war
And so it is
Together we say
Prayer by Marianne Williamson
About the Author:
Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed author and lecturer. six of her ten published books have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books include A Return to Love, A Year of Miracles, The Law of Divine Compensation, The Age of Miracles, A Course in weight Loss, Everyday Grace, A Woman’s Worth, Illuminata, and The Gift of Change. Marianne has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Good Morning America and Charlie Rose.